Four former lawmakers charged in Petrobras corruption case

Brazilian prosecutor charges four former members of congress in Petrobras oil company corruption scheme, accusations include money laundering, embezzlement

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Brazilian prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol held a televised press conference regarding the Petrobras corruption case on Thursday, announcing criminal charges against 13 people, four of which are former members of congress.

He said that investigators believe 6.19 billion reais ($2.1b) of bribes were paid in a corruption scheme involving state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasiliero SA, commonly referred to as Petrobras.

Three of the four former lawmakers were detained on Apr. 10: Andre Vargas from the ruling Workers’ Party, Luiz Argolo from the smaller opposition Party of Solidarity and Pedro Correa from the Progressive Party, who have all previously denied involvement.

Pedro Correa’s daughter Aline Correa of the Progressive Party was not arrested.

If the federal judge accepts the charges which include money laundering and embezzlement, the four former members of congress will join the ranks of 97 others who have already been indicted.

Operation Car Wash, the investigation that started in March 2014, alleges that Petrobras and some of Brazil’s largest construction firms collaborated with fifty current and former politicians in a corruption scheme.

Petrobras officials are said to have inflated contracts, taken a cut, and routed the rest to political figures and parties.

The Wall Street Journal reports that four former Petrobras executives and at least 23 construction executives have been charged with corruption, money laundering and similar crimes.

Some of these people claim innocence and await a trial while others have already cut deals with the prosecution.

According to Dallagnol, more public officials will be charged, although it is unclear when that will happen.
Reuters reports that 34 sitting politicians are being investigated by the Supreme Court in Brasilia, as lawmakers enjoy special status and cannot be tried by courts lower than the Supreme Court.

TRTWorld and agencies